At HUATULCO, some 35km from Puerto Ángel, the government began developing the latest of Mexico’s purpose-built resorts in the 1980s, on a series of then-deserted bays and beaches. The intention was to construct an environmentally conscious international destination, but growth has been slower than expected, and international visitors in the minority. A safe, sanitized, manicured resort with a beautiful setting, Huatulco is certainly not at first sight the place for budget or independent travellers keen to experience the real Mexico. Nonetheless, Mexico has a way of subverting the best-laid plans, and the town of La Crucecita has its earthy side, with plenty of reasonably priced accommodation, food and drink, while the further-flung beaches, a couple protected within a national park and entirely undeveloped, are magnificent. If lying on the sand, snorkelling and tripping off to coffee plantations and attractive coves are your priorities, you could do much worse.